Findings from the first comprehensive national census of Australia's Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) are released today in a report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Community Aged Care Package Census 2002, conducted by AIHW on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing over seven consecutive days in September/October 2002, presents data on nearly 26,500 CACP recipients, the types and amounts of assistance they received and providers of CACP assistance.
The CACP program aims to provide a coordinated package of community care services to frail or disabled older people who require complex care and would otherwise be eligible for at least low level residential care.
Ann Peut, Head of the AIHW's Ageing and Aged Care Unit, said the census gathered information on care recipients' need for assistance, availability of regular care from family and friends and the services provided through the Program.
'We found that 69% needed help with mobility, 64% reported at least a severe limitation in self-care activities, such as eating, showering and dressing, 14% reported a severe or profound communication limitation and 18% had been diagnosed with dementia.
'While just over half had carers to help them, 44% (nearly 11,000 people) did not.'
Ms Peut said that the snapshot the census provides for this one-week period showed the types of assistance most commonly provided by the CACP Program were domestic assistance (83%), social support (60%) and personal care (54%).
'But bearing in mind that the average age of care recipients was 82 for women and 80 for men, with 61% living alone, this is not unexpected.'
The census also showed that Indigenous care recipients had a younger age profile than non-Indigenous recipients with 40% aged 70 years and older, compared to 88%.
'On average recipients received six hours of assistance during this one-week census period, with 10% receiving more than 10 hours, and most (65%) were provided with three to five types of assistance.
'These figures may well underestimate the full range of assistance provided, as some recipients wouldn't receive all types of service on a weekly basis,' Ms Peut noted.
The range of services available through the program includes personal care such as washing or dressing, domestic help, preparing or eating meals, social support, respite care, home maintenance, rehabilitation support, assistance with transport, and assistance with short term illness, all coordinated by a care manager, but does not extend to home nursing or allied health services which can be accessed through other community care programs such as HACC.
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